Category: Blogcast

Wet Ink at 20 by Kurt Gottschalk

On Monday April 1st 2019, the Wet Ink Ensemble celebrates 20 years of adventurous music making in NYC and around the world with a concert celebrating the work of the ensemble’s four acclaimed composer members—Alex Mincek, Sam Pluta, Kate Soper, and Eric Wubbels. The concert will feature a retrospective look at “classics” of Wet Ink‘s repertoire, including Alex Mincek’s From Nowhere to Nowhere and Kate Soper’s Door, and new sounds including Sam Pluta’s binary/momentary iii for solo cello featuring Mariel Roberts and the world premiere of a new work for Wet Ink‘s core septet of composer-performers by Eric Wubbels.

Image result for wet ink ensemble

The composer/performer collective has been the norm in most musical currents ever since the Beatles set the standard of a self-contained unit. Since then, rock, R’n’B, and jazz bands more often than not write the music they play. Somehow, though, contemporary composition (in its various iterations) has been slow to catch up. There are plenty of performing composers, but what we’ve come to think of as a “band” (as opposed to an ensemble) is still a rarity in the concert hall. 

A certain level of rock band fanaticism can be excused, then, when it comes to the Wet Ink Ensemble. Collective noun aside, they are—under any common understanding—a band, no secret to those who’ve been paying attention for at least some of the last twenty years. With a lineup that includes voice, drums, saxophone, and electronics (along with the more expected flute, piano, and violin) and with most of the members contributing compositions to their book, the Wet Ink Ensemble has become one of the most exciting names in New York’s crowded concert calendar.

The band, in fact, sprung into being (a number of permutations ago) alongside the decidedly rockier band Zs. Saxophonists Alex Mincek and Sam Hillmer met at the Manhattan School of Music and in 1998 began playing and organizing concerts together—with Mincek’s Wet Ink Ensemble and Hillmer’s Zs often sharing both bills and members. But it took twelve years for the Wet Ink core membership to coalesce. (The collective also operates a large ensemble for bigger commissions.) Soprano Kate Soper and pianist Eric Wubbels joined the Wet Ink fold in 2005. Soper remembers one of her early performances with the ensemble, where Wubbels played Morton Feldman’s Palais de Mari and she sang Beat Furrer’s Aria.

“I was so nervous my lips were shaking. The concert was at the old Roulette on Greene Street, where we used to play a lot. This was one of those venues that feels packed with twenty people, with folding chairs and big pillars crowding the audience and a small table for merch and beer. We ended with the Feldman, and I remember leaning on the wall behind the piano (there weren’t enough seats for the performers), listening to Eric play and being suspended in a kind of sentimental awe—doubtless amplified by post-performance endorphins—a feeling that what we were doing, as a group, was special, and that I was happy and vaguely amazed to be a part of it.”

A day in the life of a concert at the Greene Street location where Roulette held shows from 2004–2011.

Listening from the stage gives the members of the ensemble a unique vantage to hear what they’re part of, and Soper isn’t the only one to appreciate that privileged position. 

“I turned pages for the premiere of the children of fire come looking for fire, a violin and piano duo Eric wrote for himself and Josh,” said former Zs drummer Ian Antonio, who joined Wet Ink in 1999. “I sat in the typical page-turner’s place to the left of the pianist and had a pretty good view of the full score. Eric and Josh’s performance was mind-bogglingly precise, raw yet polished, powerfully emotive, and I was perfectly stationed to watch them do it while wrapped inside the piano’s resonance. It’s not an uncommon experience, working with all of the members of the Wet Ink band, but I especially remember thinking after their performance how lucky I was to work with a collection of such humble and hardworking virtuosos.”

Individual awe at the group of which they’re part seems to run strong among the members of the ensemble. Violinist Josh Modney played his first concert with the group in 2008.

“I don’t remember much about the experience of performing on that first concert, except for the feelings of awe, terror, and elation that came with playing chamber music alongside such extraordinary musicians,” he said. 

“But I do distinctly remember one of the pieces I didn’t play on as a turning point in my relationship to music: Eric Wubbels and Erin Lesser’s performance of Wubbels’s Shiverer. There were so many things about that performance that defied expectations. The playing was impeccably tight. The sounds coming from the flute and piano, and the blend between both, were unlike anything I’d ever heard before. Listening to Eric and Erin’s performance was an ecstatic experience. I had listened to and performed plenty of contemporary music at that point, but hadn’t encountered composers and performers who could wield their technical virtuosity and expressive beings to push into this other zone, a high-country of the spirit. The performance provided a moment of clarity for me, revealing not only that making contemporary music on this level was possible, but that this was the kind of music I wanted to make, and these were the people I wanted to make it with.”

At the time of Modney’s first Wet Ink concert, Lesser—who attended the Manhattan School with Mincek and Hillmer—had already been playing with the group for seven years. 

“My first performances with the band took me out of my comfort zone,” she said. “I was not expected to be in concert dress for shows. We were not playing in concert halls, but in venues like the Bowery Poetry Club and the Friend’s Seminary Meeting House. The music could be anything from graphic or open notation scores to new complexity. A few times, I remember showing up and being handed music, hot off the presses, to perform with instructions like ‘play as loud as possible’ or ‘I want it so soft you don’t even know if you’re making sound.’ Sometimes there was little or no rehearsal, but there was always a respect for the ability to go for it and make it happen. 

“These are all skills and ideas I take for granted now, and that have become ubiquitous, but at the time it seemed risky and new to me,” she added. “I was inspired to learn new techniques and was ready to engage with whatever was put in front of me—all the while receiving nothing but encouragement from my colleagues.”

Perhaps the most unusual thing about the dynamic Wet Ink has forged is the dedicated electronics and live processing. That’s the often-just-offstage role of Sam Pluta, who met Mincek and Wubbels at the Darmstadt Festival in 2006 and immediately “knew then that I wanted to make music with these people.

“I distinctly remember a concert where Alex, Eric, and Eliot Gattegno performed Alex’s piece Perpetuum Mobile,” Pluta recalled of that Darmstadt meeting. “The piece was aggressive, blocky, and sonically pyrotechnic. I could see the disdain on the faces of the Europeans in the crowd. Once in New York, I met Kate Soper, Erin Lesser, and Ian Antonio. Eventually, I joined Wet Ink. Josh joined a couple of years later, and the current septet formation has been in existence ever since.”

While watching each other at work has aided in establishing the Wet Ink aesthetic, audience members can play a part as well—especially when they’re jazz legends. Mincek remembers a concert in the early 2000s that “had a huge impact on my view of what Wet Ink was.

“Sam [Hillmer] and I performed a really tough duo for two saxophones which I had recently written,” he said. “We played well and were really excited—even though the audience was quite small, as it usually was—so we headed over to the bar in the venue to have a beer and debrief. I spotted an older gentleman a few seats away. He looked very familiar to me, but I couldn’t place his face.

“I asked Sam, ‘Who is that? Do we know him somehow?’

“Sam says to me, ‘Ummm…I think that’s Ornette Coleman!’

“We sheepishly approached the fellow and politely asked, ‘Good evening, sir. Pardon us, but are you Ornette Coleman?’

‘I am.’

“We spent the next few minutes expressing how much we respected his music and his playing, and how much of an inspiration he had been for us, how much happiness we had both drawn from his music. He thanked us for the kind words and then started talking to us in detail about our own performance! He was so enthusiastic and encouraging. He asked us questions. He offered advice and solicited advice. He talked to us both as a mentor and like a peer. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life!

“There is a special intimacy that is made possible between the performers, audience, and one’s own developing aesthetic when playing obscure music in out-of-the-way environments,” Mincek added. “We were nobodies, playing odd music we believed in, for just handfuls of folks, but Ornette was in the house, and he was really listening and digging it!”

What Wet Ink has built over the last twenty years might be seen as a perpetual motion machine, where the composers are the players, the performers are their own audience, feeding and sustaining each other. The musicians develop the work and the work develops the musicians.

“When I think back over the seventeen years I’ve been going to Wet Ink shows, even before I was in the group, what sticks out to me are specific pieces and performances,” said Wubbels, “several amazing early pieces of Alex’s; Zs playing Charlie Looker’s Nobody Wants to be Had at the Bowery Poetry Club; Sam’s Machine Language followed by Feldman’s Bass Clarinet and Percussion and an insane percussion sextet by Victor Adán; Mathias Spahlinger’s Aussageverweigerung / Gegendarstellung; Braxton’s Composition 227 (with a big rowdy group including Steve Lehman, Peter Evans, and Sarah Schoenbeck); opening for Evan Parker Electroacoustic Ensemble at Roulette; Kate and Erin doing an early version of Kate’s Only the Words Themselves Mean What They Say at a weird little on-campus club venue at UCSD.

“I think an ensemble’s role in shaping a scene can be about a lot of different kinds of things,” Wubbels concluded. “In the case of Wet Ink, I’m proud that the significance of the group really does seem to be a function of the actual music that we’ve made together, in specific pieces and specific performances. There’s a reality and a concreteness to that that’s quite satisfying.” •

Wet Ink: 20th Anniversary Bash takes place at Roulette on Monday, April 1st at 8pm, opening our Spring 2019 season.

About the Contributor:

Kurt Gottschalk writes about contemporary composition and improvisation for DownBeat, The New York City Jazz Record, The Wire, Time Out New York, and other publications and has produced and hosted the Minitature Minotaurs radio program on WFMU for the last ten years.

The Schlippenbach Trio

Monday, March 25, 2019
Performance 8pm / Doors 7pm

What: In a rare US appearance, legendary free-jazz ensemble The Schlippenbach Trio perform at Roulette for one night only.
When: Monday, March 25, 2019
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost: $18 presale, $25 Doors
Info: / (917) 267-0368

Brooklyn, NY – Over the last forty-five years, Evan Parker, Alexander von Schlippenbach, and Paul Lytton, known as The Schlippenbach Trio have become known as the greatest group playing free jazz in Europe. Their group chemistry is founded on intuitive listening, interaction, the ability to respond in an instant and on the synergy between their characters, all capable of complementing as well as challenging one another. The spectrum of their performance ranges from furor to elegy. It extends from energetic, forward-thrusting pieces to cool, calm, ambling passages, from ballad moods to submersion in sound, or in silence.

Although happy to fit occasional individual concerts into their work schedules, for the last fifteen years or so the trio has concentrated its touring into one sequence at the end of each year. This limited touring schedule, coupled with the challenges of international logistics make this performance a rare opportunity to see the Schlippenbach Trio in the US. In homage to the tragic Schubert/Muller song cycle their concert sequence has become known as the Winterreise.

Evan Parker, saxophone
Alexander von Schlippenbach, piano
Paul Lytton, drums

One of Europe’s premier free jazz bandleaders, German pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach’s music mixes free and contemporary classical elements, with his slashing solos often the link between the two in his compositions. In 1966, Schlippenbach formed The Globe Unity Orchestra—a big band that bridged the techniques of free-jazz and the techniques of the classical avant-garde (including the twelve-tone scale)—to perform the piece Globe Unity, which had been commissioned by the Berliner Jazztage. He remained involved with the orchestra into the ’80s. Schlippenbach began taking lessons at eight, and studied at the Staatliche Hochschule for Musik in Cologne with composers Bernd Alois Zimmermann and Rudolf Petzold. He played with Gunther Hampel in 1963, and was in Manfred Schoof’s quintet from 1964 to 1967.  After 1967, Schlippenbach began heading various bands—among them, the 1970 trio with Evan Parker and Paul Lovens and a duo with Sven-Ake Johansson, which they co-formed in 1976. In the late ’80s, he formed the Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, which has featured a number of esteemed European avant-garde jazz musicians including Evan Parker, Paul Lovens, Kenny Wheeler, Misha Mengelberg, and Aki Takase.

María Grand: Music as a User’s Manual

Thursday, March 21, 2019
Performance 8pm / Doors 7pm

What: Composer and saxophonist María Grand gives the first concert of her 2019 Roulette residency featuring new compositions exploring a system of music similar to a user’s manual.
When: Thursday, March 21, 2019
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost: $18 presale, $25 Doors
Info: / (917) 267-0368

Brooklyn, NY – For the first concert of her residency, María Grand performs Music as a User’s Manual, a series of compositions that seek to functionalize the rituals that make up a concert experience. It asks what is there to take home after one goes to a concert – is there any real change that happens, and are there any actual tools offered to listeners that they can implement in their lives? Grand strives to create self-contained music that is not a means to an end, rather is the means are the end – where sound illustrates, concretely and abstractly, something everyone can do. She will be joined by Ganavya Doraiswamy on vocals, Joel Ross on vibraphone, and Rajna Swaminathan on percussion.

María Grand solo, vocals and saxophone

Ganavya Doraiswamy, vocals
María Grand, tenor saxophone
Joel Ross, vibraphone
Rajna Swaminathan, mridangam

María Grand is a saxophonist, composer, educator, and vocalist. She moved to New York City in 2011. She has since become an important member of the city’s creative music scene, performing extensively in projects including musicians such as Vijay Iyer, Craig Taborn, Jen Shyu, Steve Lehman, Aaron Parks, Marcus Gilmore, Jonathan Finlayson, Miles Okazaki, among others. Grand writes and performs her original compositions with her ensemble, DiaTribe; her debut EP TetraWind was picked as “one of the 2017’s best debuts” by the NYC Jazz Record. The New York Times calls her “an engrossing young tenor saxophonist with a zesty attack and a solid tonal range”, while Vijay Iyer says she is “a fantastic young saxophonist, virtuosic, conceptually daring, with a lush tone, a powerful vision, and a deepening emotional resonance.” Grand is a recipient of the 2017 Jazz Gallery Residency Commission, 2018 Roulette Jerome Foundation Commission, and 2019 Roulette Jerome Foundation Residency. She is a member of the Doug Hammond quintet, has toured with Antoine Roney, and performs regularly with her own ensemble, as well as with RAJAS, led by Carnatic musician Rajna Swaminathan, and Ouroboros, led by Grammy Award winner alto saxophonist Román Filiú. She has toured Europe, the United States, and South America, playing in venues and festivals such as the Village Vanguard in NYC, La Villette Jazz Festival in Paris, Saafelden Jazz Festival in Austria, Millennium Park in Chicago, the Blue Whale in LA, IloJazz in Guadeloupe (FR), and many others.

Talking Gong: Alex Peh with Kyaw Kyaw Naing, Susie Ibarra, and Claire Chase

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Performance 8pm / Doors 7pm

What: Pianist Alex Peh collaborates with percussionists Susie Ibarra, Kyaw Kyaw Naing, flutist Claire Chase, and the first ever Burmese-American Hsaing Ensemble to perform new works drawing on the musical traditions of Southeast Asia.
When: Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost: $18 presale, $25 Doors
Info: / (917) 267-0368

Brooklyn, NY – In an event organized by pianist Alex Peh, he is joined by a series of virtuosic collaborators to present an evening of music drawing from the musical traditions of Southeast Asia. In Talking Gong, Peh teams up with percussionists Susie Ibarra, Kyaw Kyaw Naing, and flutist Claire Chase to perform a new trio inspired by Southeast Asian gong chime music. Talking Gong, written by Ibarra for Peh and Chase, explores traditional Philippine Kulintang cipher scores, reimagined for piano, flute, and mixed percussion. Peh will also perform three new works by Ibarra and Kit Young for solo piano, inspired by their lifetime of work and study in Southeast Asia, as well as two works by composer Phyllis Chen with Chase.

Peh and Naing, a Burmese percussionist and master of the saing waing or pat waing—a unique drum-circle instrument that has roots in Burmese court culture and Buddhist folk traditions— present new improvisations and compositions for piano and pat waing, a traditional combination that developed when the Italian ambassador gifted King Mindon of Burma a piano in the mid-19th century. Additionally, Peh and Naing will perform the world premiere of new works written for piano and percussion ensemble. The concert will inaugurate the first Burmese-American Hsaing Ensemble in the United States, and features Naing, Peh, and SUNY New Paltz community members and students.

Alex Peh, piano
Kyaw Kyaw Naing, percussionist/composer
Susie Ibarra, percussionist/composer
Claire Chase, flutist
Robert Vetri, toy piano, bowl, music box

Hsaing Ensemble:
Elana Kellerhouse
Robert Vetri

Pianist Alex Peh is a collaborative teaching artist, assistant professor of music and coordinator of the piano program at SUNY New Paltz in the bucolic Hudson Valley. He engages with a wide range of music, using his classical training to support his work in traditional and contemporary music, experimental works, and improvisation. He commissions composers to write new pieces, explores world music idioms, and experimental processes. From working with LEGO Mindstorm robotic musical instruments to Burmese piano style, Peh has performed in venues such as the DiMenna Center NYC; Carnegie Weill Recital Hall NYC; Kennedy Center, DC; Austrian Embassy, DC, Abrons Art Center, NYC; and Benaroya Hall, Seattle. Recent concerts include performances at BRIC house, Byzantine Museum in Thessaloniki, Greece; Stone Residency at the Glass Box Theater, NYC; Howland Cultural Center, Beacon; and Dartmouth College’s Hopkins Center.

Cecilia Lopez: Dos (tres) / Bifurcations with Aki Onda

Monday, March 18, 2019
Performance 8pm / Doors 7pm

What: Resident artist Cecilia Lopez presents a collaboration with Aki Onda and the premiere of Dos (Tres) for brass and electronics.
When: Monday, March 18, 2019
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost: $18 presale, $25 Doors
Info: / (917) 267-0368

Brooklyn, NY – For the first concert of her 2019 Roulette residency, artist/composer Cecilia Lopez will present a two-part program, which explores different scales of sound in Roulette’s theater. The program will begin with Dos (tres) written for brass trio and electronics. By conjuring a very subtle atmosphere and focusing on the directionality of sound, timbre, and specific frequency material, this piece investigates the outcome of a very intimate encounter between instruments/instrument players.

The second part of the evening will feature Bifurcations, the first collaboration between Lopez and composer and artist Aki Onda. Sharing a trajectory based on the use of acoustic feedback and the exploration of space through amplification, this concert is an opportunity for both artists to join forces and present a duo feedback composition. Lopez will be playing her handmade instruments, weaved from speaker-wire; Onda will wield multiple amplifiers and his custom lighting system which responds to the aural environment, expanding the perception of space visually.

Dos (tres)
Cecilia Lopez, composition, electronics
Forbes Graham, trumpet
Joe Moffett, trumpet
Christopher McIntyre, trombone

Cecilia Lopez, electronics, feedback
Aki Onda, feedback, custom light system

Cecilia Lopez is a composer, musician and multimedia artist from Buenos Aires, Argentina currently based in New York. Her work explores perception and transmission processes focusing on the relationship between sound technologies and listening practices. She works across the media of performance, sound, installation and the creation of sound devices and systems. She studied composition with Carmen Baliero and Gustavo Ribicic. She holds an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College and an MA from Wesleyan University in composition (2016). Her work has been performed and exhibited at Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (AR), Center for Contemporary Arts (Vilnius, Lithuania), Festival Internacional Tsonami de Buenos Aires (Argentina), Roulette Intermedium, Issue Project Room, Floating Points Festival , Ostrava Days Festival 2011 (Ostrava, Czech Republic), MATA Festival 2012 (NY), Experimental Intermedia (NY), Fridman Galley (NY), Kunstnernes Hus (Oslo, Norway) and Ende Tymes Festival (NY), Festival Punto de Encuentro organized by the Asociación de Música Electroacústica de España (Spain), and the XIV Cuenca Biennial, among others. She was a Civitella Ranieri fellow in 2015 and has participated in various residency programs such as Atlantic Center for the Arts, Ostrava Days Institute, Harvestworks, and Rupert Residency. She has collaborated in projects with Carmen Baliero, Carrie Schneider and Lars Laumann, among others

Vijay Iyer and Craig Taborn: The Transitory Poems

Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Performance 8pm / Doors 7pm

What: Vijay Iyer and Craig Taborn, two of jazz and contemporary music’s premier pianist-composers perform together in celebration of their record The Transitory Poems on ECM.
When: Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost: $18 presale, $30 Doors
Info: / (917) 267-0368

Brooklyn NY – In celebration of the release of their collaborative record The Transitory Poems, renowned pianists Vijay Iyer and Craig Taborn will play an evening at Roulette. Recorded at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest on March 12, 2018—exactly one year before this performance—the album is produced by label founder Manfred Eicher, and will be released on ECM March 15, 2019.

Composer-pianist Vijay Iyer was named Downbeat Magazine’s Jazz Artist of the Year for 2012, 2015, 2016, and 2018 and Artist of the Year in Jazz Times‘ Critics’ Poll and Readers’ Poll for 2017. He received a 2013 MacArthur Fellowship, a 2012 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, and a 2011 Grammy nomination. He has released twenty-one albums, the most recent of which are on ECM: Far From Over with the Vijay Iyer Sextet, which topped numerous polls and was cited by Rolling Stone as “2017’s jazz album to beat”; A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke with Wadada Leo Smith, named “Best New Music” by Pitchfork; Break Stuff with the Vijay Iyer Trio; the score to the film Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi by filmmaker Prashant Bhargava; and Holding it Down: The Veterans’ Dreams Project (Pi Recordings) with poet-performer Mike Ladd, named Album of the Year in the Los Angeles Times.

Born in Detroit in 1970, Craig Taborn first earned international notice as a member of saxophonist James Carter’s ensembles. In the late ’90s, he played regularly with Roscoe Mitchell, along with leading his own groups; and by the next decade, the keyboardist was heard collaborating with Tim Berne, Chris Potter, Dave Holland, among others. Taborn first appeared on ECM as a member of Mitchell’s ensembles and subsequently on recordings led by David Torn, Evan Parker, Ches Smith, and Michael Formanek. He made his ECM leader debut in 2011 with an album of solo piano, Avenging Angel, which The New York Times called “a brilliant and unpredictable study informed by contemporary classical music as well as several currents of improvisation. It’s a sit-up-and-take-notice statement.” Then came Chants, a trio disc with bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Gerald Cleaver, described by DownBeat as being without “borders, or ordinary structures, or typical narrative flow. The songs are positively shimmering, immaculately detailed, prismatic and very improvisational… They flutter and spiral, bend and float, and constantly surprise.” In 2017 he released Daylight Ghosts, referred to as “spellbinding” by the Los Angeles Times.

The independent record label ECM—Edition of Contemporary Music—was founded by producer Manfred Eicher in Munich in 1969, and to date has issued more than 1500 albums spanning many idioms. Emphasising improvisation from the outset, ECM established its reputation with standard-setting recordings by Keith Jarrett, Paul Bley, Jan Garbarek, Chick Corea, Gary Burton, the Art Ensemble of Chicago and many more and began to include contemporary composition—including Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians and Meredith Monk Dolmen Music—in its programme in the late 1970s and early 80s.

Shayna Dulberger: Bitter Sky

Thursday, March 7, 2019
Performance 8pm / Doors 7pm

What: Bassist Shayna Dulberger is joined by Fay Victor, Ava Mendoza, and Juan Pablo Carletti in a performance that is an exploration of sound dimensions using voice, guitar, bass, and drums.
When: Thursday, March 7, 2019
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost: $18 presale, $25 Doors
Info: / (917) 267-0368

Brooklyn, NY – If a sculpture is the art of making two or three-dimensional representations or abstract forms, then how do we apply that model to the creation of music? Are we able to hear dimensions and listen for different parts similar to the way we can walk around a sculpture and see different parts? Which musician creates stability? Which is peppering the ensemble with colors? Which musicians are syncing up on a psychic level? In every performance, Shayna Dulberger asks the audience to explore what they are watching and listening to.

Inspired by minimalist Anthony Caro’s steel sculpture Bitter Sky (1983), bassist and 2019 Roulette resident artist Shayna Dulberger has invited musicians Fay Victor, Ava Mendoza, and Juan Pablo Carletti to explore sound dimensions through improvisation. Bitter Sky is made of steel with bolts and seams that are very visible: layers and layers of parts with nothing hidden—an obvious parallel to watching a band perform.

Fay Victor, vocals
Ava Mendoza, guitar
Shayna Dulberger, bass
Juan Pablo Carletti, drums

Shayna Dulberger has been living and performing in the NYC area since 2003. You can catch her slapping upright bass in her old-timey band Nifty Knuckles, rocking out on electric bass in band Chaser, and exploring textures and found sounds on tape collages in noise project HOT DATE. Dulberger has appeared on over a dozen recordings. She has performed in ensembles led by William Parker, Ras Moshe, Bill Cole, Charles Gayle, Jonathan Moritz, and Chris Welcome. She plays electric bass on Cellular Chaos’s record Diamond Teeth Clenched (Skin Graft). Dulberger (b. 1983) is from Mahopac, NY. She attended Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division in High School and was awarded a Bachelor of Music from Mason Gross School of The Arts Conservatory, Rutgers University where she majored in Jazz Performance. In addition to from performing she currently teaches at Brooklyn Conservatory.

Contemporaneous IMAGINATION presents

Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Performance 7:30pm / Doors 6:30pm

What: In celebration of the diverse ways we express our lives through music, Contemporaneous IMAGINATION presents a genre-defying concert featuring Boio, Warp Trio, and Forward Music Project.
When: Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost: $18 presale, $25 Doors
Info: / (917) 267-0368

Brooklyn, NY – In a snapshot of the endlessly varied forms of musical expression throughout our community, the 22 musicians of Contemporaneous will host a non-genre musical gathering with performances by some of the most powerful artists working amongst us – daring avant-rock band Boio, the genre-obliterating Warp Trio, and Forward Music Project, Amanda Gookin’s multimedia project of solo cello works developed to empower women and girls.

Contemporaneous will end the night with a set of pioneering new works developed by Contemporaneous IMAGINATION, an initiative that seeks to foster a culture of radical creative openness. The ensemble interprets the finale from storied saxophonist/bandleader and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Henry Threadgill’s sweeping and beautiful homage to Butch Morris in a new version for large ensemble. Contemporaneous also presents the world premiere of a new work by Violet Barnum, a talented recent alumna of the Luna Composition Lab for young composers and the first-ever Contemporaneous Composer-in-Residence. Sarah Goldfeather sings with the ensemble in her highly-anticipated song-cycle Treading Water, which draws on her experiences from indie-folk-rock to contemporary classical music in an electrifying musical synthesis.

Fanny Wyrick-Flax, flutes
Stuart Breczinski, oboe
Vicente Alexim, clarinets
David Nagy, bassoon
Cameron West, horn
Evan Honse, trumpet
Daniel Linden, trombone
Amy Garapic & Matt Evans, percussion
Robert Fleitz, piano
Colin Davin, guitar
Sarah Goldfeather, voice
Sabrina Tabby, Finnegan Shanahan, Lauren Cauley, & Curtis Stewart, violin
Scot Moore and Leah Asher, viola
Amanda Gookin & Meaghan Burke, cello
Pat Swoboda, contrabass
David Bloom, conductor

Finnegan Shanahan, voice, guitar, violin, and viola
Robby Bowen, drums

Forward Music Project:
Amanda Gookin, cello
Katy Tucker, projections

Warp Trio:
Josh Henderson, violin
Ju-Young Lee, cello
Mikael Darmanie, piano
Rick Martinez, drums

Contemporaneous is an ensemble of 22 musicians whose mission is to bring to life the music of now. Recognized for a “ferocious, focused performance” (The New York Times) and for its “captivating and whole-hearted commitment” (I Care If You Listen), Contemporaneous performs and promotes the most exciting work of living composers in innovative programs throughout the United States. The ensemble has been presented by such institutions as Lincoln Center, Park Avenue Armory, PROTOTYPE Festival, MATA Festival, and Bang on a Can, and has worked with such artists as David Byrne, Donnacha Dennehy, Dawn Upshaw, and Julia Wolfe. Contemporaneous has premiered more than 150 works, and with its newly-launched program Contemporaneous IMAGINATION, the ensemble champions large-scale works, curated from an open call for artists to submit ideas for projects that take risks and defy constraints. Read more at


Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Performance 8pm / Doors 7pm

What:  Jazz-based quartet Shipp/Lowe/Cleaver/Ray bring their unique and exciting chemistry to Roulette.
When: Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost: $18 presale, $25 Doors
Info: / (917) 267-0368

Brooklyn, NY – Roulette is pleased to present the unique and exciting chemistry of the jazz-based quartet Shipp/Lowe/Cleaver/Ray. A cooperative group of established musicians, the quartet incorporates the uniquely recognizable pianist Matthew Shipp, masterful alto saxophonist Allen Lowe, legendary percussionist Gerald Cleaver, and acclaimed bassist Kevin Ray. Specializing in free improv, a recent concert was called “a remarkable outing,” and “a testament to their understanding of subtleties and their overall musical experience” in All About Jazz.

Pianist Matthew Shipp has worked and recorded vigorously from the late 1980s onward, creating music in which free jazz and modern classical intertwined. He first became well known in the early 1990s as the pianist in the David S. Ware Quartet, and soon began leading his own dates—most often including Ware bandmate and leading bassist William Parker—and recording a number of duets with a variety of musicians, from the legendary Roscoe Mitchell to violinist Mat Maneri. Through his range of live and recorded performances and unswerving individual development, Shipp has come to be regarded as a prolific and respected voice in creative music into the new millennium.

Allen Lowe is a saxophonist, guitarist, mastering engineer and music historian. He has performed and recorded as a leader with David Murray, Doc Cheatham, Marc Ribot, Matthew Shipp, Don Byron, Julius Hemphill, Nels Cline, Ken Peplowski, Nels Cline, JD Allen, Kalaparusha, Ursula Oppens, Roswell Rudd, James Brandon Lewis, Frank Lacy, and Jimmy Knepper. He has released at least 15 albums under his own name and has five new works coming out in 2018. There are entries about him in the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz and The Penguin Guide to Jazz. There is a chapter on him in the book Bebop and Nothingness by Francis Davis (Schirmer Books: 1996).

Raised in Detroit, Gerald Cleaver is a product of the city’s rich music tradition. Inspired by his father, drummer John Cleaver, he began playing the drums at an early age, in addition to violin and trumpet. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Cleaver has been an assistant professor in the Jazz Studies at the University of Michigan, and in 1998 also joined the jazz faculty at Michigan State University. He moved to New York in 2002. He has performed or recorded with Franck Amsallem, Henry Threadgill, Roscoe Mitchell, Lotte Anker, Reggie Workman, Marilyn Crispell, Matt Shipp, William Parker, Craig Taborn, Kevin Mahogany, Charles Gayle, Mario Pavone, Ralph Alessi, Jacky Terrasson, Jimmy Scott, Muhal Richard Abrams, Dave Douglas, Tim Berne, Jeremy Pelt, Ellery Eskelin, David Torn and Miroslav Vitous, among others.

As a young man casting about for direction, critically acclaimed bassist Kevin Ray drifted into the New School jazz program, where he became a protege of Reggie Workman. Under Workmans’s tutelage, he developed an affinity for adventurous artists such as The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Henry Threadgill, The World Saxophone Quartet, Andrew Cyrille, and others. Supporting himself in the early 1990s managing a division at Forbes Publishing, Ray continued to study and play. Toward the end of the decade, he came into contact with one of his spiritual mentors, Andrew Hill and became a full-time musician. For ten years he played regularly with Hill and continued to expand his horizons by performing and recording with artists such as John Hicks, Bobby Zankel, Oliver Lake, Greg Osby, John Stubblefield, Ray Anderson, Kelvyn Bell, Elliott Sharp, Hamiet Bluiett, Nels Cline, Ursula Oppens, Ken Peplowski, J.D. Allen, and Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre.

Gelsey Bell, Amirtha Kidambi, Anaïs Maviel, Megan Schubert: QUARTET

Sunday, March 3, 2019
Performance 8pm / Doors 7pm

What: Vocalist-composers Gelsey Bell, Amirtha Kidambi, Anaïs Maviel, and Megan Schubert come together to perform new pieces written for each other in QUARTET.
When: Sunday, March 3, 2019
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost: $18 presale, $25 Doors
Info: / (917) 267-0368

Brooklyn, NY – Drawing from a wide array of inspirations, techniques, and genres, four acclaimed vocalist-composers—Gelsey Bell, Amirtha Kidambi, Anaïs Maviel, and Megan Schubert—come together to write new pieces for each other. Each world premiere reflects the individual style of the composer while capitalizing on the collaborators’ flexible voices and improvisational intelligence.

Drawing on her characteristic blend of extended vocal techniques and vocal harmony, Gelsey Bell‘s Within attempts to untangle the ineffable from the corporeal by exploring the interplay between inside and outside. Amirtha Kidambi combines notated materials, graphic score, conduction, and free improvisation to explore vocal textures from polyphony and harmony to microtonality and harsh noise, encapsulating a microcosm of vocal practice from ancient to modern. Anaïs Maviel approaches the liminal spaces between so-called artificial and natural environments. Megan Schubert’s Late Duck, examines her personal experience with performing gender through a theatrical blend of live and pre-recorded sound, samples, stop-motion animation, and video. With a sense of ubiquity, four unique vocal instruments will invoke divine feminine metamorphosis in the face of apocalyptic times.

QUARTET is organized by New York City-based singer, songwriter, and scholar Gelsey Bell. She has been described by The New York Times as an “imaginative” “winning soprano” whose performance of her own music is “virtuosic” and “glorious noise.” She has released multiple albums, including most recently This is Not a Land of Kings, and Ciphony with John King. She received a 2017 Music/Sound Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, has had work included in MoMA PS1’s Greater New York exhibition, and has had both a residency and a commission from Roulette. Her works include Bathroom Songs, Scaling, Our Defensive Measurements, This Takes Place Close By (with thingNY), Prisoner’s Song (with Erik Ruin), Wealth from the Salt Seas (with Anna Sperber), and the acclaimed adaptation of Robert Ashley’s Perfect Lives (with Varispeed). She is a core member of thingNY, Varispeed, and the Chutneys. Other performance highlights include Dave Malloy’s Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812 on Broadway and Ghost Quartet, Robert Ashley’s Crash, Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler’s River of Fundament, John King’s Micro-Operas, Yasuko Yokoshi’s BELL, Kate Soper’s Here Be Sirens, and Gregory Whitehead’s On the Shore Dimly Seen.